Adrift Floating in the Mentawai’s with Flick Palmateer
Indonesia’s Mentawai Islands is a wave-rich island chain located off Sumatra, two-days travel from Bali. This area is relatively isolated and steeped in local tradition, with thousands of local inhabitants still living extremely simple, frugal lifestyles.
So much focus is given to the surfs pots, which is quite natural given it has been surfing that is largely responsible for exposing this region to the concept of tourism and western visitation and influence.
Since those early surf missions, roughly 20 years ago, aside from increasing numbers in the lineups, not a whole lot has changed. There are a number of land-based surf camps, some regulatory processes for charter operators and a generation of Indonesian grommets maturing into confident surfers.
Groups like SurfAid are vigilant in their mission, instigating change of their own, working hand-in-hand with communities to bring about positive, sustainable health change while respecting the unique culture and customs of these islands communities.
I first visited the Mentawai’s a year ago. Which is pretty late by pro surfer standards. Like most I vowed to return, this time with Laura Enever and her family, plus a few hand-picked friends. Waking up to a different surf spot each day, sipping on a local Indonesian brewed coffee and watching the sun rise endears appreciation like nothing else.
We surfed, we laughed, we ate and sang, we celebrated birthdays, and we surfed some more. Heads were not buried into screens or hand held devices, it was an 11-day digital detox. Ironically now, the outcome is posted to blogs and forwarded via Instagram for all to see.
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